Today the world is celebrating International Human Rights Day, a global celebration marking the 65th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) wishes to mark this day by reaffirming its commitment to promoting human rights in Libya and by taking the opportunity to reflect on the past year’s human rights achievements and setbacks, the current challenges and future prospects.
The past year has witnessed Libya making progress towards its democratic aspirations. Notably, the registration of voters for the Constitutional Drafting Committee (CDC) elections started on 1 December 2013. Furthermore, human rights have made a more positive appearance in the government’s international agenda with the adoption of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution for assistance to Libya on human rights. This is a positive step by the Libyan government towards acknowledging the various human rights challenges facing Libya and an improvement from the 2012 resolution at the HRC that failed to include any mechanism for monitoring or reporting human rights challenges. In addition, LFJL welcomes the adaption of an Anti-Torture Law, the law on disbanding militias and the recent adaption of the Transitional Justice Law.
These are valuable steps toward Libya’s long-term prospects for peace, security and national reconciliation. However, a number of human rights concerns remain, and the lack of government control of security continues to present a major challenge to the protection of human rights. ‘Human Rights Day is celebrated every year on the same day around the world. However, this should not be just a day for conferences and government statements. This day should be marked by a real commitment to improving the human rights situation in Libya by the government taking steps, every day of the year, to promote human rights and protect citizens against violations,’ said LFJL Director Elham Saudi.
LFJL has produced a brief report that explores the major human rights issues in Libya over the past year, highlighting challenges, progress made, and recommendations on what could be done to help foster a democratic Libya which honours human rights